2009 Skyline to the Sea 50k

Another fantastic day on the Skyline to the Sea Trail with PCTR! I ran 28 seconds faster than my time last September finishing in 3:38:05. The amazingly narrow margin between the two performances is thanks to some tight and spasmy hamstrings in the last 7 miles that hampered plans to open it up for the finish stretch which seems easy on paper (yeah, right). A very similar story line to September starting a bit too fast and finishing with some kind of cramping. I guess it makes it easier to lower the bar next time and maybe I will have learned my lesson!

Troy Howard finished in second place in 3:56:47, Nathan Yanko was third in 3:59:33, and Will Gotthardt was fourth in 4:02:02. Fellow La Sportiva teammates Caitlin Smith produced yet another win and course record running a 4:17:54 and Mark Tanaka ran a 4:26:30 after a 150 miler last week. Thanks PCTR and volunteers for making this another awesome day on the trails!

Popping out of the Marsh Trail and into the finish shoot, photo thanks to Serena
Out of the Marsh Trail and into the finish shoot, photo thanks to Serena
Photo at the start, courtesy Cal's Crazy Photo Gallery
Photo at the start, courtesy Cal's Crazy Photo Gallery

Find a great album of race photos posted at Cal’s Crazy Photo Gallery, thanks Calvin!

Read more after the jump!

The Skyline to the Sea 50k is a point-to-point run from Skyline Ridge at Saratoga Gap to Waddell Beach on the Pacific Ocean. The trail is almost entirely under forest canopy, much of it old growth redwoods. The trails are technical and there is a surprising amount of hill climbing that is not trivial after the preceding downhills.

I had a good time chatting with Brian, Will, and Caitlin on the shuttle ride up to Saratoga Gap. I must have still been in rest mode when I got off the bus because between waiting in the bathroom line and checking in there was no time for anything else. I quickly packed away my stuff to be shuttled back to the finish and made my way to the front of the starting line sans stretching or warming up just before the start countdown. I then lured myself into running the first 6 miles a bit too fast again. I felt pretty good through the first part of the course (like September) and the splits were about the same for the first 32k. Leaving Big Basin, the re-route up the Sunset Trail was steeper than the Skyline to the Sea Trail (closed for repairs) and the Middle Ridge Road section had an unexpectedly steep hill, but once back on the Skyline to the Sea, I made great time to Berry Creek Falls.  At this point, I thought I could improve last September’s time by four minutes, but these aspirations were dashed by hamstring tightness and spasms that caused me to tone it down and prevent further increases in pain for the remainder of the run to Rancho del Oso and Waddell Beach. I still ended up improving my time from last September by 28 seconds (without Lon Freeman pushing me this time) so I was very pleased. All in all, a great day on gorgeous trails!

Finish photo, thanks to Serena
Finish photo, thanks to Serena

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Evan says:

    New to the blog.

    Congrats on a strong race!! That is a smoking time.

  2. Mark Murray says:

    Great race Leor, and nice talking with you afterwards–stick with the 50k until your an old man (like me). I do think I should get some credit for helping you to the course record, given that I was really pushing you for those first 400 yards.

  3. Nice job on yet another win. Do you ever not win and set a PR?

  4. I mean CR.

    Again, nice job. See you at the next race!

  5. willgotthardt says:

    Another amazing effort Leor, it’s got to be those quads(?)

    Will G.

  6. rick gaston says:

    Great job on the course despite the difficulties. Here’s a video of you that I took at Waterman Gap. Doesn’t last very long since you just ran right through.

  7. ScottD says:

    The sole record holder now! Great job, Leor. Nice report!

  8. Mark Tanaka says:

    Great job, and thank you for making me seem a little fast by yellow Sportiva jersey association. Sorry about the hamstrings, but this way you have that much more chance of setting a new course record next year. Like, maybe you should just aim for shaving 30 seconds every year….

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